Writing News

Writing News–First Contract!

OK, so when I first started writing a “Writing News” post on my blog it was with this day in mind. That was a long long time ago. I went to my first writer’s conference in 1st grade. I took creative writing classes all through school. I enrolled in The Institute of Children’s Literature in March of 2001. I completed 2 classes with them, 4 years of work, and a historical YA manuscript.

I did not sell that manuscript today.


But I did sell a book manuscript. Actually it is a novella, a cute little book. And I wrote it on a dare.

Several times I’ve noted in writing books how they say you will work on that first manuscript for years and years (11 and counting, I’m still revising it!) and then one day you will write something else. And your skill will be at the point where you can do the story justice and that is the story you sell. I did that…and it didn’t work. I spent five years on the first manuscript, took a 2 year break to write something new, then went back to the first manuscript for another 4 years to split it into two manuscripts. Still nothing sold.

Then my lovely sister challenged me to write a novella in a month.

What a crazy idea. It had taken me five years to write that first story, then two years to write the second. A month, no way! But an editor for Pelican Book Group was coming to our local writer’s conference and on their website they had a call for submissions for Passport to Romance novellas.

What the heck? It would be good practice, and a nice break from my incessant revising.

So I picked a story off their site, Copenhagen, Denmark. An afternoon brunch, a gravel road, and a friendly dog. Could I write a story with these elements? Why not try? Our family owns a 150lb Newfoundland who was very very friendly. In his youth he was always dragging us through puddles, and lakes and rivers and…anything wet. Good book fodder. So off we went on our month long novella adventure. It was hilarious, my sister and I had so much fun. Every crazy thing our characters did was something new to e-mail about. I haven’t had so much fun writing since I was 14 years old.

I wrote the novella in February, I revised it in March, I pitched it in April. Then I revised it again with my critique partner and waited and waited and waited.

Then on Friday, July 26th 2014, almost thirteen and a half years after I started writing to get published, I got a contract offer from Pelican for Copenhagen Cozenage, that novella that I wrote just for fun. Yesterday I signed the contract and put it in the mail.

Now, I have no idea how many revisions they are going to require, that process hasn’t started yet. But for now it is just so wonderful to know that they liked it. That something about the story made a real live editor want to keep reading. That next year my words will be available for any and all who want them. My prayer was always that God would help me to become a good enough writer to create a story that someone would want. It took so very long, but today I am blessed with a wish I thought would never come true.

Signing my first book contract!
Signing my first book contract!


I promise you a crazed animal, a concussion, and a kiss in every single book...you're welcome!

18 thoughts on “Writing News–First Contract!

  • That’s what I’m saying. I was thinking about facebooking you, but you found me first! Thanks Becca.

  • Yippee!! 🙂 I will tell Isaiah to keep his cast with your signature. Since you are now famous 😉

  • Yay, Kristen!!! I wrote The Hesitant Heiress just for fun, and it was my first sale too. I think it gives a writer more freedom to just let the story be when the goal is to have fun with it, instead of analyzing everything. 🙂

  • Janet Bibby

    Congratulations to you for your persistence in writing. I’m sure all those revisions of the other manuscripts helped you in writing this winner!

    Wishing you continued successes.


  • Thanks so much Janet. I’m sure you’re right. All that revision teaches you so much.

  • That is so cool. Although, don’t we all read to have fun? It makes sense that some of that fun in writing just for fun would leak out and be fun on the page. Thanks Dawn.

  • Hmmm…It might start to stink? But thank you Becca, It is so fun to share good news with friends instead of “So…I sent in another partial that someone requested at a conference…and they rejected it.” Which you guys have heard more than enough of over the last few years I’m sure.

  • Ken Farmen

    Awesome Kristen! What a great example of perseverance and Gods hand to use something completely outside of what you were expecting. Congratulations!

  • Grandma Judy

    WAHOO!!!! PTL!!! So very proud of you!

  • Thanks so much Mom, and you got to read it first!

  • Thank you Ken, you’re right. Things didn’t happen the way I thought they would. But it is wonderful all the same.

  • Judy Bodmer

    Thanks for letting me know. We always wonder what happens to the pitches during the conference. So proud of you.

  • And thank you Judy for making the conference such a wonderful event. My sister and I look forward to attending every year. It is a highlight.

  • Jessica Wilks

    Congratulations! He always has a path.

  • Yay!!!!! Celebrating with you!!!! And the sweet, lovable Newf…;-)

  • Thank you so much Jenn. It means so much to have a critique partner to walk through all of this together with. You make me such a better writer and you wrote a tribute for my dog when he died! I couldn’t ask for anyone better. Thanks so much. And I’m so glad I wrote about Shamu before he was gone. All those times he drug us into the river and the pond and the lake. I miss that big shaggy monster. Thanks Jenn.

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